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Published on May 10, 2022

Patch: Virginia Hospital Center Earns 'A' Grade For Patient Care: New Report

By Mark Hand, Patch Staff

ARLINGTON, VA — Virginia Hospital Center was one of several Northern Virginia hospitals to receive high marks in the Spring 2022 Hospital Safety Grades report released Tuesday by The Leapfrog Group, an independent nonprofit health care watchdog group.

The latest ratings reflect care during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Leapfrog Group said the research shows the pandemic reversed years of progress in patient safety.

The pandemic has had a negative effect on "health care delivery at every level and setting, from staffing shortages to increased infections to the very care patients receive," according to the Patient Experience During the Pandemic: Adult Inpatient Care report, also released Tuesday by The Leapfrog Group.

"The health care workforce has faced unprecedented levels of pressure during the pandemic, and as a result, patients' experience with their care appears to have suffered," Leapfrog Group president and CEO Leah Binder said in a news release. "We commend the workforce for their heroic efforts these past few years and now strongly urge hospital leadership to recommit to improved care — from communication to responsiveness — and get back on track with patient safety outcomes."

Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington received an "A" grade, according to Leapfrog.

Last month, Virginia Hospital Center rebranded itself as VHC Health as part of an effort to reflect its community-centered approach to bringing healthcare to patients across the region. The rebranding followed the recent completion of a new garage at the Arlington campus and the opening of several new physician offices in the region.

"VHC Health is delighted to receive our 20th consecutive 'A' grade from the Leapfrog Group as a direct reflection of our team's dedication to the well-being of their patients," Chris Lane, president and CEO of VHC Health, said in a statement Tuesday. "As our services expand, our efforts remain constant to provide safe, top quality medical care to communities across the Washington, DC metro area."

Here are other Northern Virginia hospitals that received an "A" grade from Leapfrog:

• Inova Alexandria Hospital, Alexandria
• Inova Fair Oaks Hospital, Fairfax
• Inova Fairfax Hospital, Falls Church
• Inova Loudoun Hospital, Leesburg
• Inova Mount Vernon Hospital, Alexandria
• Reston Hospital Center, Reston
• StoneSprings Hospital Center, Dulles

The letter grades assigned to Virginia Hospital Center and nearly 3,000 other U.S general hospitals were based on more than 30 measures of patient safety. Leapfrog says its hospital rating system is the only one in the country focusing solely on a hospital's ability to protect patients from preventable errors, accidents, injuries and infections.

Included in the 30 are five that research has shown to directly affect patient outcomes, but can be improved with greater communication between caregivers and patients — the number of central line-associated bloodstream infections, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, infections from colon surgery, MRSA (Staphylococcus) blood laboratory-identified events, and facility-wide inpatient diarrhea events.

When there's communication about medications, for example, that can lead to fewer hospitalizations for conditions such as sepsis and blood clots, fewer complications, and decreases in the incidence of respiratory failure, Leapfrog said.

Among the findings:

• Thirty-three percent of hospitals received an "A," 24 percent received a "B," 36 percent received a "C," 7 percent received a "D." and fewer than 1 percent received an "F".
• The states with the highest percentages of "A" hospitals are North Carolina, Virginia, Utah, Colorado and Michigan.
• There were no "A" hospitals in Wyoming, West Virginia, North Dakota or the District of Columbia.

To determine each hospital's grade, a panel of medical experts selected 30 evidence-based measures of patient safety such as postoperative sepsis, blood leakage and kidney injury. They then determined the weight of each measure based on evidence, opportunity for improvement and patient impact.

Data on each measure was collected through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Information from the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, available to all hospitals to complete, also affects grades.

Currently, Leapfrog does not assign grades to military or Veterans Administration hospitals, critical access hospitals, specialty hospitals, children's hospitals or outpatient surgery centers.

The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade methodology has been peer-reviewed and published in the Journal of Patient Safety.

The full methodology for the 2022 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is available online.